Tesla Model 3 Range Loss In Bitter Cold – Video

1 month ago by Steven Loveday 94

How much range loss should you expect in the Tesla Model 3 in bitterly cold weather?

Much of the U.S. and Canada has been in the midst of a frigid cold snap over the last few weeks. Some areas have experienced sub-zero temperatures for several days in a row. It’s no secret that EV range is impacted by the cold weather for multiple reasons. In fact, all cars experience decreased efficiency in cold weather.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model X defrosting during pre-heating

While ICE vehicles may not see as much range loss, cold temps may cause them to run rough or even not start. This isn’t the case with EVs like the Tesla Model 3, however, with only a couple hundred miles of overall range, a significant loss can prove problematic.

Model 3 Owners Club founder Trevor Page fills us in with some additional details about how the Tesla Model 3 differs from the S and X when it comes to range loss and cold weather.

Basically, the Model 3 doesn’t have a battery heater but instead uses waste heat to attempt to warm the pack. This isn’t as efficient as the systems in the Model S and X and also leads to issues when it comes to Supercharging. The battery simply won’t charge as fast if it’s not kept warm.

Page mentions the recent and ongoing Tesla Model 3 Road Trip and the weather-related issues You You Xue has experienced, especially in Canada, that have made the trip a struggle, including the concern mentioned above.

Needless to say, if you plan on owning a Model 3 in an area that experiences extreme cold on a regular basis, you’re going to see considerable range loss. Additionally, plan on spending a significant amount of time charging. It also seems that there is some correlation with areas that experience these type of temps also being areas not having an abundance of Superchargers.

Share your cold-weather EV experiences with us. Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Video Description via Model 3 Owners Club on YouTube:

We’ve had bitterly cold weather for the last 2 weeks. How does it affect the range in a Tesla?

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94 responses to "Tesla Model 3 Range Loss In Bitter Cold – Video"

  1. Steve says:

    ” It also seems that there is some correlation with areas that experience these type of temps also being areas that don’t have an abundance of Superchargers.”

    So they don’t put SC in these areas on purpose?

    1. Steven Loveday says:

      No. The comment means that rural areas in northern states and in Canada that tend to experience bitter cold temps are also areas that don’t have Supercharger Network development comparable to areas like California or Florida, or more populous areas (i.e. big cities). Obviously, there are exceptions, and that’s why it’s only a mere correlation.

      1. Steve says:

        Got it, thanks of clarification..

        1. Steven Loveday says:

          Anytime! Clarity is key for sure. Thanks for the comment and the support!

  2. bro1999 says:

    Very cold batteries + fast charging = sad times. This is applicable to any EV that can fast charge. I am rather surprised the Model 3 does not have a dedicated battery heater. I guess the bean counters at Tesla deleted that from the feature list. Sounds like any Model 3 owner living in a climate that dips well below freezing will have to think twice when planning a road trip in the winter.

    My Bolt has also suffered from the HV battery pack being too cold when trying to fast charge. Though it DOES have a dedicated battery heater (draws a little over 2 kW when on), it will only heat the HV pack to around 40F when unplugged. While driving, the battery heater won’t kick in unless the temp drops to near 30F, and even when it kicks on it will only heat the battery to around 40F before shutting off.

    When plugged into a 240V EVSE, the Bolt will try to keep the HV battery temperature around 60F.

    I’ve lobbied GM to include a feature that allows the driver the option to heat the battery to ensure the battery is warm enough so that peak fast charging rates can be assured. We’ll see what happens.

    I blogged about a recent trip where cold HV pack temps hampered a road trip in my Bolt.
    http://bro05.blogspot.com/2017/12/this-is-not-going-to-go-way-you-think.html

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      It’s a given cold weather has a negative effect on range.

      Not sure what the news is………lol

      Every battery cell has an operating thermal range. Bitter cold isn’t “optimal”.

      1. Steve says:

        I think the news is the charge rate, not the loss in range. I was surprised to read that the charge rates go down also, even though the battery has been warmed up. Seems strange.

    2. krona2k says:

      I thought all Teslas actively warm the battery if needed.

      I really like the idea of giving the user the choice of battery temp, within sensible limits of course.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yeah. The problem here isn’t Tesla re-engineering the way the TM3 heats the battery, using waste heat for better energy efficiency. The problem is that by eliminating a dedicated battery heater, it’s impossible for the driver to keep the battery warm enough for full-power Supercharging when it’s bitterly cold.

        As I said in another comment, I hope Tesla will add a “cold weather package” for the TM3 which will include a dedicated battery heater which can be used when it’s really needed. And as this video shows, when the temperature is in the range of -10° to -20° F, a dedicated battery heater is really needed!

        However, if the TM3 was designed from “the ground up” not to include a battery heater, there may literally be no place to put it. I hope someone will pose that question to Tesla soon.

        1. tftf says:

          PP must be trolling, nothing is wrong with Tesla’s battery design.

          More FUD from PP. Ignore the FUDsters.

          Go Elon!

          PS: Irony is free.

          1. Get Real says:

            Look, admitted shorter trollftf is back.
            How much money have you lost shorting Tesla you loser because you are about to lose a lot more as the Model 3 ramp goes up and up?

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Cause and Effect:

            CAUSE: TSLA stock price shoots up sharply at the beginning of the week

            EFFECT: Long-term TSLA shorter “tftf” shows up again in mid-week to make another Tesla-bashing troll post.

            Hey tftf! How much money did you lose shorting TSLA last year? However much it was, Tesla certainly appreciates all the money you’re throwing in their direction!
            😀 😀 😀

            Not that I know much about the stock market, but I know enough to understand very deeply ironic it is that TSLA stock shorters are driving *up* the price of TSLA — the very opposite of what they want to happen! So from that perspective: Hey tftf! Please, please do continue to short TSLA and to advise other stock market players to do the same!

            (Ain’t schadenfreude wonderful? 😉 )

    3. Jacked Beanstalk says:

      Interesting. The Bolt has superior battery thermal management compared to the Model 3.

      GM’s engineering is top notch. I’m still amazed by the smoothness of my gen2 Volt’s drivetrain and how it seamlessly blends battery and range extender ICE together.

      If only they had good stylists then I think their EVs would be unstoppable.

      1. SparkEV says:

        bro’s comment doesn’t mean much with regard to thermal management, just the set temperature when the battery warmer shuts off/on. If GM set the temperature to 60F like with L2, it will charge quicker.

        As for “superior”, that depends. From surface area in contact with coolant, Tesla 3 is superior than Bolt (more area). But from coolant flow rate, Bolt is superior (less cells for given coolant volume).

        Of course, 2015+ SparkEV (and Volt) is superior to all, both in surface area and coolant flow rate.

        1. JeremyK says:

          Has anyone actually calculated the cell area exposed to the cooling loop?

          The Bolt uses prismatic cells vs cylindrical cell in the Model 3. I would think that the surface area to volume ratio of the prismatic cells would be higher than that of the Tesla-style cells. Also not taken into account is the difference in thermal conductivity of the cell materials.

          If you can cite an article that go into detail of this comparison, I’d be interesting in reading it.

      2. ffbj says:

        GM did not engineer Jack with the battery or drive-train. The Model 3 is capable of charging at a much faster rate. It’s a better car all around than the Bolt that much is certain, plus you can charge in a lot more places.
        Try doing the exact same trip in a Bolt, and then tell about how superior it is.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Interesting to see that “Jacked” is a GM fanboy, in addition to being one of the more extreme serial Tesla bashers and FUDsters.

        Jacked said:

        “Interesting. The Bolt has superior battery thermal management compared to the Model 3”

        Hmmm, well maybe it looks “superior” if you turn up the gain on your reality-distorting Tesla Hater goggles. 🙄

        Try to charge the Bolt EV at Tesla Supercharger speed, and it will quickly become quite apparent which car has the better battery thermal management! And not just on those rare days when it’s bitterly cold, either. That’s year-round.

        But nice try there, Mr. Tesla Hater.

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          Push, do you hear yourself sometimes? Ever?
          Please explain the how charging fast implies good thermal management.

          Hint: It doesn’t, and I can prove that with a simple example. Does a first generation Nissan Leaf have better thermal management than a first generation Chevrolet Volt? The Leaf certainly charges faster, but the class action lawsuits and severe battery degradation accompanied Nissan due to their lack of thermal management.

          Tesla’s lack of a reliable battery heater means its thermal management is not as robust, and no amount of calling people fan boys or fudsters that you like to do so much can change that. And comparing a base model 3 to a Bolt EV, it doesn’t charge that much faster either.

          1. Oglark says:

            I am not a Tesla fan boy. But not having a battery heater is not equivalent to poor thermal management. The critical point is that the batteries are actively cooled to minimize degradation. Both the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla 3 cool their batteries when they get too hot. Right now EVs are still rare enough that there is a market for everyone.

        2. ClarksonCote says:

          Panasonic recommends 2 amps max for the 18650 but Tesla stretches it to 4 amps. I’m sure they do something similar in the Model 3.

          Translation? Yeah, they charge faster, but just like the Model S experiencing more battery degradation from lots of supercharging, expect the same for the Model 3.

          There’s no free lunch. There’s a reason why the Bolt EV was designed the way it was. The design is conservative and preserves battery life.

          I’m looking forward to comparing a 5-year old Bolt EV that quick charges constantly to a Model 3 that super charges constantly. I’d bet my lunch the Bolt EV will have superior range, hands down. Probably to the point that, even with the faster charging of the Model 3, the Bolt will get to a destination faster than a Model 3 when quick charge stops are required.

          1. Djoni says:

            Just let you know that as a Leaf owner (2012 MY), I can tell you that DCFC Leaf is very slow.
            It cut very sharply no more than 10 minutes after the charging begin and this is with a battery at proper temperature.
            Above 40-45% SOC, it will go down to less than 20 kW.
            It is bad, period.

            Volt doesn’t have DCFC capability, so I don’t know how you compare both.

            1. ClarksonCote says:

              The point was one chargers faster than he other but the faster charging vehicle has worse thermal management. I’m well aware the Volt has no fast charge.

              Fast charging or not, that was the point being made. Push claimed a faster charge rate means better thermal management.

          2. JeremyK says:

            Anecdotally, it would seem that GM designs for the 99th percentile driver; The one who fully charges/discharges the battery once per day. Parks outside when it’s -10 F outside. Leaves the car with a partial charge at the airport for two weeks in the middle of winter, parks the car at an Arizona Walmart for 4 hours in July, etc.
            Tesla seems like they design for San Diego weather and wait to see what breaks as they release product to other regions of the country/world…THEN they make design changes for robustness (hence why early owners are referred to as Beta-testers).

            Bottom line, GM does a LOT of testing and validation before releasing product and they put more conservative constraints the battery parameters that influence battery health over the long term.

            1. ClarksonCote says:

              I think that’s a fair way to summarize how GM goes about it, and trying to ensure all operational scenarios are robust regardless of consumer usage patterns.

              Faster charging rates get more headlines for Tesla, but so will the faster battery degradation. I guess most of the orders will be booked and filled at that point though.

    4. Chris O says:

      Seriously, even that pathetic 90 miles in 30 minutes that Bolt is capable of when “quick charging” (LOL, define quick…probably 80% in 90 minutes or so but clearly not when it’s cold) is affected by cold weather?

      Good to know.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        It’s physics. You can laugh at the Bolt’s charging rate, but unlike Tesla, GM won’t limit the supercharging rates after so many times due to degradation.

        https://electrek.co/2017/05/07/tesla-limits-supercharging-speed-number-charges/

    5. Bruce Miller says:

      Good idea! What does Norway do to deal with this?

    6. JyChevyVolt says:

      “The FUD is strong. Only 160 mile range? Are you roasting a turkey inside your Bolt EV?” – sparkev

      https://insideevs.com/hyundai-shows-off-next-gen-fuel-cell-vehicle/

  3. arne-nl says:

    “This isn’t as efficient as the systems in the Model S and X”

    It is more efficient. Maybe you wanted to say effective?

    1. Steven Loveday says:

      Overall, though the HVAC system uses less battery energy, the lack of a battery heater, paired with the longer charging time, makes it less effective. Due to cost-cutting measures, which make perfect sense in the less expensive, entry-level vehicle, overall efficiency is not as good as the Model S and X. Also, for now, Range Mode is not available.

      1. koz says:

        Is this verified by Tesla. I understood the heating/cooler for the S & X is via an HVAC loop and uses the car’s “AC/Heat Pump”. Model 3 is liquid cooled too. Are you saying they are using a passive loop for that and not running it through an HVAC loop like the S & X? I don’t think this is accurate.

        1. Prad Bitt says:

          Obviously this car didn’t have any “Cold Weather Package”

          It would be nice if Tesla offered such an option (with battery warming) to those who live in colder areas.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Steven Loveday said:

        “Overall, though the HVAC system uses less battery energy, the lack of a battery heater, paired with the longer charging time, makes it less effective. Due to cost-cutting measures, which make perfect sense in the less expensive, entry-level vehicle, overall efficiency is not as good as the Model S and X.”

        The word “efficiency” is probably the most misused term in any technical discussion, partly or mostly because the word “efficiency” has too many meanings.

        However, if we’re talking about “energy efficiency”, then you said it yourself, Steven: “Overall… the HVAC system uses less battery energy…”

        Therefore, the TM3’s battery thermal management is more efficient. It’s just not as effective.

        If you don’t agree, then please explain in what sense it’s less “efficient” despite using less energy. Looks like you’re talking about some other type of efficiency, not energy efficiency. Or perhaps you mean efficacy (= effectiveness) rather than efficiency.

        1. Steven Loveday says:

          Simple explanation: A less effective battery heating system results in a cold battery. A cold battery is less efficient. If the article or discussion was surrounding batteries in warm temps, the statement may be different.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Thanks for responding.

            Your original assertion:

            “Overall, though the HVAC system uses less battery energy, the lack of a battery heater, paired with the longer charging time, makes it less effective.”

            So when you said “…makes it less effective”, the “it” you were referring to there wasn’t HVAC system, as the sentence seems to imply; you actually meant the less effective HVAC system makes the battery pack less efficient in storing and delivering energy.

            Yeah, okay. I think most of us interested in EV engineering will agree that’s pretty clearly correct; I’d say it’s an established fact.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Mrfl. I quoted the wrong bit from Steven’s post. 🙁

              Anyway, I see now what Steven was trying to say, and he’s right: The battery pack is less efficient at storing and delivering energy in bitterly cold weather, because the TM3 battery heater is less effective.

              I just didn’t understand what he was trying to say.

            2. Steven Loveday says:

              Nice! Ha ha. Good stuff, sir. Say that all ten times fast!

  4. CCIE says:

    I can’t imagine that including a heater in the battery coolant loop would have cost much. Very surprising that Tesla didn’t include on in the M3.

    1. William says:

      Tesla was probably trying to get Model 3 production costs in line with the magical $35K
      number that should attract more sales. Hopefully those numbers will be 400K+ before 2020.

      1. Another Euro point of view says:

        “in line with the magical $35K
        number that should attract more sales”

        Magical indeed, those $35K Model 3’s might even be invisible. A bit like Tesla’s battery swapping stations some time ago.

        1. Art Vandelay says:

          Hahaha, you are so so so funny, you should do stand-up man

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          😆 😆 😆

          Poor Tesla haters!

          First it was “Tesla Model 3 sales don’t count because they’re only selling to Tesla employees”, then it was “TM3 sales don’t count because they don’t have the FM radio enabled”, and now it’s “TM3 sales don’t count because Tesla isn’t yet offering the $35,000 base trim level.”

          You have to keep moving the goal posts on your ongoing serial denials that Tesla really and truly is making and selling the wildly popular Tesla Model 3!

          But keep on trolling, Another Euro FUDster. Hell ain’t half full yet! 😀

    2. F150 Brian says:

      If you look at specs for EV battery cells, they list a minimum charging temperature. I have not seen these specs for Tesla made batteries but for reference, the Nissan leaf lists -10C and the Volt is +5C.

      So if there is no battery heater and the car is very cold, do you have to tow it to a garage to warm it up before charging, or drive it around the block for a couple hours to use waste heat from the motor/controller?

      1. Nick says:

        If it’s plugged in to charge, why not simply run the heater with that power source?

        1. CCIE says:

          That’s the point, there is no battery heater.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I guess you did not actually watch the video. Plug the car in and select “pre-heat”. The TM3 will use heat from the cabin heater to warm the battery pack.

            If you’re where you can’t plug it in, well then, you’re not planning on charging it, so there’s no problem, right?

            But given your history of Tesla bashing posts, CCIE, you’re not interested in actual facts. You’re just interested in finding more bull pucky to bash Tesla with.

            1. CCIE says:

              I was a bit confused when I watched the video and saw the guy point out the battery heate activating. Then I realized the car in the video is not an M3! It’s a Model X, which does have a battery heater.

              Attention to details!

              1. ClarksonCote says:

                Hey CCIE, don’t start using facts, there’s no place for that here, especially if they prove Pushi wrong.

              2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                Amazingly enough, this is actually a true statement, despite coming from a serial Tesla basher. That’s rather a surprise. (Altho if we remember the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, the little liar actually was telling the truth at the end of the story… when nobody believed him anymore.)

                Yeah okay, I was puzzled at why a supposed “Model 3” had a rear spoiler, and I didn’t even think about the fact that those are Model X door handles, not Model 3 door handles!

                1. CCIE says:

                  At least I don’t resort to childish name calling.

                  I’d love to see you point out anything I’ve ever posted about Tesla that’s been proven wrong.

                  I actually have nothing against them and do hope they get their act together since they’re a major driver of EV adoption. I’m just realistic about them and don’t believe the hype.

  5. Josh Bryant says:

    Tesla could get extra heat from the drivetrain by running the motor at a sub-optimal torque-speed curve to generate extra waste heat when the battery temp is too cold. The energy cost in the efficiency drop might be similar to the energy cost of an electric heating coil.

    The new PM motor design might make this less effective than the old wound motors though.

    Parked heating would be the tougher scenario. It would be kind of crazy, but with AWD they could run both motors in opposing directions to create some parked heat.

  6. fred says:

    I just watched, but didn’t listen. Am I missing something. Why are the Tesla Model 3 owners club videos shot in a Model X with no Model 3 in sight? Is it future owners club?

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      The guy broke down and bought a Model X while waiting for the Model 3. He is in Canada so no Model 3s up there yet.

      Not sure if he is still getting a 3, it would be ironic if he doesn’t buy one.

  7. Jim stack says:

    Gas cars get terrible mpg in the cold. Diesel cars and trucks won’t even start. You really have to compare all types of cars and fuel.
    So overall an electric is,way ahead. It always starts but will have a lower range.

    1. Sladjo says:

      I live in Romania which has temperate climate, that means that temperatures below -5C are quite normal during winter, especially at night, and can get also to -25C sometimes. I never had issues staring my cars at that low temps (the cars were kept outside). “Winter” gas consumption increases about 1 liter per 100km, compared to “summer” (I usually drive ~80% in the city; petrol engine, 1.6l). So, IMHO, ICE cars have clear advantage in winter, at least for now.

      1. Bjarke Christensen says:

        Yeah, but there is probably not that many Tesla’s headed for Romania anyway…

        1. Alex says:

          Why is it that necessary to write irrelevant comments?

          I live in Helsinki. It is rare too cold here but I clearly see that my diesel Audi A6 3.0 quattro performs better in winter than my facelift 2016 MS90D. But this is expected, isn’t it? Laws of physics can’t be overruled by wishful thinking. The only way out of this is to have more energy stored in a battery of an electric car. If I replaced my 90 kwh battery with 200 kwh battery I wouldn’t care less what is the temperature outside. On the contrast, ICE vehicles have huge amount of energy in their tanks and what is wasted in summer can be of great use in winter.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “Laws of physics can’t be overruled by wishful thinking. The only way out of this is to have more energy stored in a battery of an electric car.”

            There are plenty of “ways out of this” that are well within the bounds of physics. One way would be to have a battery that works more like a capacitor, so that temperature is pretty irrelevant to functionality. Another would be to switch to battery chemistry which uses chemical reactions with a greater temperature range; ones which don’t experience a significant drop in reactivity at temperatures below the freezing point of water.

            Thinking even farther outside the box, we might abandon stored power altogether, in favor of a miniature nuclear-electric generator, using this tech:

            https://tinyurl.com/y7d8fopb

            There are lots of possibilities for powering future EVs, without resorting to science-denier wishful thinking such as perpetual motion or using hydrogen as fuel.

        2. Sladjo says:

          @Bjarke: True… But mean and irrelevant, as well…

  8. HVACman says:

    Per Electrek’s “exclusive” article on the Model 3 pack, the Model 3 was SUPPOSED to be able to heat the pack in cold weather while parked and plugged in using the the motor windings as a “heater” for the pack cooling loop. I assume it does this by running measured amounts of DC current through the motor windings. DC current would create a fixed magnetic field with zero rotating torque, preventing the vehicle from moving.

    Has Tesla not enabled the feature yet?. Did they just quietly drop the idea? Is this feature operational, but doesn’t create enough heat in bitter cold to help?

    https://electrek.co/2017/08/24/tesla-model-3-exclusive-battery-pack-architecture/

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Maybe that’s how they are using waste heat from the motor to heat the battery pack. Obviously using waste heat from a physically isolated system like that would take longer to heat the battery than using a resistance heater inside the battery pack, and it seems reasonable to think that’s why it takes about 1/2 an hour to warm the battery pack up from about -10° F to minimal operating temperature, which I presume is barely above freezing.

      Anyway, it’s not like using an electric heater inside the battery pack is going to instantly warm up the battery when it’s that cold, either. How long does it take the Model S/X to warm the battery pack?

      What is the amount of extra time needed to warm the TM3’s battery pack? Because that’s what we’re really talking about here — not a binary, it can/it can’t situation. It just takes longer with the TM3, that’s all.

      Much ado about very little, here.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        On second thought… no, it’s not just the amount of time it takes to pre-heat the battery. It’s a much more serious issue that the TM3’s indirect battery heating system doesn’t provide enough heat in bitterly cold weather to maintain normal functionality. A 50% loss of range definitely indicates inadequate performance in bitterly cold weather.

        As I’ve already said, I hope Tesla will eventually offer an optional “cold weather” package for the TM3, to deal with this inadequacy.

  9. Bill Howland says:

    Unless they are using some kind of new fangled battery, I find it almost impossible to believe that Tesla does not use a battery heater. Running the drive motor inefficiently would cause too much noise to come from it and it would be a severe distraction to the driving experience.

    My Roadster would not regenerate nor charge AT ALL if the battery was under 35 degrees F.

    My Canadian friends tell me they simply lose regeneration in their S’s and X’s in cold weather – strongly implying that ANY Tesla doesn’t even attempt to even slightly charge the battery if too cold.

    My BOLT ev does the same kind of thing although I don’t know what the precise temperatures are. As Bro1999 states, the heater is 2 kw (and I suspect its even bigger since I’ve seen the frankly unreliable dashboard display go to 3 or 4 kw in VERY cold weather with nothing else on).

    My Bolt ev also does not take the full 7.2 kw charge rate when the battery is very cold, making me think that, like the roadster, the car is simply warming the battery up to operating temperature before attempting full speed charging. This should be easily noticeable for those who attempt DC fast charging, a feature I’m lacking.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      There is a blurb in the owner’s manual of the BOLT that in extreme weather the car must be brought into range using either L1 or L2 charging, prior to attempting a fast dc charge.

      This confuses me since I’ve ‘seen’ the car run the battery heater on the dashboard display when initially driving a very cold car with the cabin heater fully off.

      You would think that the heater would just run ‘off’ the battery (that is, if it had any CHARGE left at ALL), and then turn on the fast charger. So then the only time the fast charger wouldn’t work is if the battery was seriously dead in very cold weather… You’d have to plug the car into a ‘block heater’ ckt to heat up the battery enough to fast charge it.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        I suppose if they do use the drive motor as a “poor man’s” battery heater when the car is plugged in charging, then there would be no noise.

        I would be interested to see if there is any heating while the car is driving, but maybe not.

        That is a difference with all GM branded cars to date, in that they will continue to heat the battery by running the battery heater while driving until the battery is comfortable.

        1. HVACman says:

          The Model 3’s thermal management system for the pack and drive unit is a glycol system. Regardless of whether the Model 3 TMS used a separate electric heater or used the motor windings, it would make a noise. It has to run a pump to circulate the glycol through the pack and drive unit move either heating or cooling fluid. Just like the Model S/X.

    2. mxs says:

      Even at DCFC, where you have plenty power obviously available, most OBC will not allow a full power charge, if the battery temp is not within operational range. Hence simple advise applies … drive the car hard for short time and then go back to DCFC. Faster than waiting at DCFC for the heat system to warm it up …. at least on my car.

    3. Josh Bryant says:

      I didn’t consider the audible issues with running the motor sub-optimally.

      In any case, I am guessing Tesla came up with some trick to produce extra waste heat from drive components when needed. But we will have to see how effective it is.

      They have too many cars in Canada and Norway to have forgotten about these issues during Model 3 development.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “In any case, I am guessing Tesla came up with some trick to produce extra waste heat from drive components when needed. But we will have to see how effective it is.”

        I think this video answers the question of how effective it is. As I understand it, Tesla Models S/X lose about 20% of their range in bitterly cold weather, or perhaps in some extreme cases perhaps 30%. If the TM3 is losing 50% of its range at highway speed, then that rather strongly indicates the indirect heating of the battery pack isn’t as effective as it needs to be.

        “They have too many cars in Canada and Norway to have forgotten about these issues during Model 3 development.”

        Yes, which is why I’m hoping there will eventually be an optional cold weather package offered for the TM3. I just hope the engineers left room inside the battery pack to add a resistive heater!

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          The only data point was one guy driving on a really long trip, spitting some numbers out off the top of his head at in impromptu supercharger meeting.

          Keep in mind it is an early production car and the software is definitely not finished (back seat heaters aren’t even turned on).

          It might not be working well now, but they might find some solutions to apply with OTA update. Similar to the torque sleep mode that was added to D cars to improve highway efficiency.

          TRDL; right now not great; you are hoping for more hardware; I am hoping for better systems enegineering of the current hardware setup (less equipment to break)

          There is no wiper heating as far as I know, so maybe a cold weather package will come down the road.

  10. mxs says:

    It’s function of a battery chemistry not a car or particular brand. And applies to charge (speed) or discharge (range).

    Li-ion batteries like to be in the Goldilocks zone … no surprise here. Heating/cooling in a car assures it’s kept within that zone as much as possible.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      The issue here is that, according to what’s reported in the video, the TM3 isn’t doing as good a job keeping its battery pack warm in bitterly cold weather as the Model S/X, or — according to at least one post above — as good a job as the Bolt EV does. If even pre-heating the car doesn’t let it retain more than half its normal range, then that pretty strongly indicates the battery heating system is inadequate. It’s not providing enough heat to maintain normal function in bitterly cold weather.

      If Tesla isn’t going to offer a cold weather package for the TM3 that does a better job of keeping the battery pack warm in bitterly cold weather, then they are going to lose sales in colder regions. Or at least they ought to.

      1. mxs says:

        If it’s proven that S/X are better, perhaps they have downgraded the high volt battery heater system in some way.

        My point was, you will always lose some in those circumstances. Pretty much all EV vehicles in the cold snap up here in Canada were losing anywhere between 25-50% of range, where cars were parked outside with no chance of pre-heat.

        Battery heating technology has been sort of neglected, I think. Most eye were on cooling (except Nissan … LOL), but, I think as EV’s trying to get better, more efficient, so will the heating of HV battery become.

  11. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Well, it’s only when it’s really REALLY cold, like -10° F or colder, but still, a 50% range loss in a Tesla car is rather shocking!

    As the guy in the video says, that still doesn’t give him range anxiety for normal everyday driving, because the Long Range Model 3’s EPA rated range is 310 miles, so with an average commute even half the range (155 miles) isn’t any limitation.

    I understand why Tesla decided to re-engineer the way the battery pack is heated, using waste heat from the car for better energy efficiency. But still, I hope that there will be a “cold weather package” made available for the TM3 that will include a dedicated battery heater, which would be activated only under certain circumstances, and only when the temperature is well below freezing.

    As the guy in the video says, engineering always involves tradeoffs. But for those living where it’s common for the outside temp to get down to 0° F or below more than once during a winter, I think they really do need cars with a dedicated battery heater, so long as batteries are subject to significant loss of performance (capacity and power in/power out) in bitterly cold temperatures.

    1. JyChevyVolt says:

      Stop spreading FUD! Tesla does not lose 50% range in cold weather. Serial shorter with their nonsense.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Looks like you’re trying hard to establish a reputation for yourself as a troll, dude.

        Well, you don’t have to try very hard at that, and certainly nobody is going to stop you!

        1. JyChevyVolt says:

          You’re fired! Turn in your pom-poms.

          1. JyChevyVolt says:

            You can learn something from these cheerleaders.

            https://youtu.be/iwi1u2xDF9k

  12. Apkungen says:

    Don’t agree. This is plain out wrong. Half the range. Ha!

  13. Jason says:

    To be honest, You You is from CA, be said it is as cold as he’s ever been, so maybe he has always lived in CA. So was he running the heater at high temperature? 6kW shouldn’t take 50% range from a 75kWh battery, but it would have an impact.
    Was he running the seat heater? Looks like he was driving significantly in the night, and possibly rain/sleet, so lights and wipers would be running. While low power it does impact range.
    At the end of the day all the factors need to be taken into account. We’ve seen in the Leaf 50% range reduction, but that is mostly due to the small battery and high energy use heater. How does Leaf in -20C compare? It does seem interesting that Tesla is losing 50% range, I would have expected maybe 25-30%.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      If the battery stays too cold, you can’t get as much energy out. The voltage of the cells will dip under load more quickly when they are cold, so you would get much more range drop.

      The article says this too, sans the voltage drop explanation. This isn’t just a heater usage thing.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Jason said:

      “You You is from CA, be said it is as cold as he’s ever been… So was he running the heater at high temperature? …It does seem interesting that Tesla is losing 50% range, I would have expected maybe 25-30%.”

      Well, the whole thing is very confusing. He keeps talking about the TM3, but he’s demonstrating it on a Model X. I think maybe it would be best to disregard this whole thing and look for some reports from people actually driving a TM3.

      But that aside, yes there is an issue with someone with no experience with bitterly cold weather not knowing how to properly precondition a BEV for driving in such conditions. Perhaps they’re only losing 50% range because they don’t know how to pre-heat the car?

      It certainly is very confusing having a video clearly labeled “Range loss in bitter cold | Model 3 Owner’s Club” that is actually about how to precondition a Model X for bitterly cold weather.

  14. HVACman says:

    The fundamental problem is that the Model 3 continues to reveal classic symptoms of being a great car rushed to-market half-baked. Both on the production side and the operational side.

    It deserved better than this.

    1. CCIE says:

      This exactly. Though, Tesla had little choice since they could not afford more delays without the whole company failing. Hopefully they get the bugs out by next year. I do feel bad for anyone who gets stuck with an early version.

  15. Stretch2727 says:

    Still surprised Tesla is not using a heat pump for both the cabin and battery. Much more effective way to heat both than resistance heat. One way to avoid some of the cold battery issue is to charge for 30 minutes or so just before you drive the car.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Heat pumps certainly are more energy efficient, but at the temperatures under discussion here, are pretty useless. As I understand it, heat pumps found in automobiles generally don’t put out sufficient heat if the outside temperature is below about 20° F.

      If money is no object and your goal is energy efficiency, then the idea would be to have both a heat pump and a resistive ceramic heater. But if you’re trying to save money and space, it may make sense to use just the one type of heater that will work in conditions of both mild cold and bitter cold.

      Engineering always involves tradeoffs. What’s more important: Energy efficiency or lower cost? Obviously the answer won’t be the same in every case.

  16. Dan says:

    The 2170 cell chemistry allows charging without plating down to -40degC. The plating is proportional to attempted charge current at the cold temps. Fortunately; as charge goes in, the resistive losses start building and warming up the battery which has a domino affect on allowed charge to preserve battery life.

    It’s not really a bean counter decision, card wre generally designed for -40degC to +50degC ambient air temp. If the only point of the heater is to allow charging, then it’s only needed if the cell chemistry requires it. What a lot of people don’t realize is peak charging rates on the super chargers are short lived.

    The difference between burning 5 kW (model s and x heater) to heat up the peak to add another X kW rate does have an impact, yet it’s only a difference of 15-20 minutes from 0% to full SOC on a supercharger and that’s only when the pack is soaked at full cold to start with. 99% or ev drivers don’t start supercharging at full cold pack temp, they drive a bit which heats the pack and then after a certain distance start supercharging when the pack self heated to somewhere around 0degC which will accept a full charge rate on 18650s. If you hook up to the Model s/x can bus, you can actually observe on a supercharger if the pack is below 0, charging is inhibited. To be more clear, you can sit on a supercharger for an hour or more before the 5 kW heater heats the pack enough to accept a charge at all. Not many people complain about that, because by the time you drive a -20 degC battery five miles to the supercharger, it’s alrwasy about 0!

    The real concern is long term storage at sustained cold temeprature. The thermal mass of a pack in a Tesla can take several days to cool off to -40degC (leaving your car at an outdoor parking stall in the Arctic while you travel for work maybe?) The risk is if the car isn’t above a minimum soc, and it cools down; the range hit could leave the car unable to keep the 12v system alive, let alone have power to drive the car to a charger. In that circumstance, you wouldn’t want to use the heater anyway because as mentioned it will pull lots of that precious power still remaining. At this point in the argument, you can start drawing parallels to the ICE world where if you run out of fuel, the car won’t start either. Moral of the story; make sure you leave the car with enough energy knowing range will be reduced when you get back to it (be it from cold weather, hot weather preconditioning, or just the 12v system waking up periodically and burning energy to keep itself maintained.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      At -40C, the electrolyte will freeze. Without a battery heater, what can they do to get it back in a usable state? Hope there’s not many orders from Fairbanks, Alaska

      1. Djoni says:

        Just let you know that as a Leaf owner (2012 MY), I can tell you that DCFC Leaf is very slow.
        It cut very sharply no more than 10 minutes after the charging begin and this is with a battery at proper temperature.
        Above 40-45% SOC, it will go down to less than 20 kW.
        It is bad, period.

        Volt doesn’t have DCFC capability, so I don’t know how you compare both.

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          The comparison I was making above was in reference to a claimed fact that “faster charging means better thermal management” but the Volt (without fast charging) has better thermal management than the Leaf (which has fast charging). So that point disproves the notion that faster charging automatically implies better thermal management, since the Volt’s thermal management is superior to the Leaf.

          That’s the point I was trying to make above, I apologize for the confusion it caused!

      2. Dan says:

        Might want to check in with Panasonic or LG on the chemistry.

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          In regards to what point? The electrolyte may not freeze at that temperature exactly, but the behavior is still largely unchanged. If you’re in a very cold environment with a Model 3 and it doesn’t have a battery heater, that’s not a good scenario.

          Even running the motors to generate the heat would need power from the battery, and if the battery is already too cold, it’s not good for the battery to begin with.

          Admittedly this is confusing to me that Tesla would go this route, so maybe there’s something we don’t entirely understand. In contrast the Model S burns far too much energy keeping its battery in a tight window at all times when plugged in, so the pendulum seems to have swung a bit here. The ideal solution lies somewhere in the middle, and Chevrolet & BMW seem to get that. Nissan will come around too, hopefully.

  17. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Now we all know why Volt is the best selling PEV in Canada!

    It has a huge onboard gasoline heater!! (Yes, the engine is more energy efficient as a heater than propulsion device. Of course a specific fuel heater is more energy efficient than the engine in heat production)

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